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Purpose – The objective of this research is to provide insight into the management of service quality and emotions across customer relationships in the business‐to‐consumer market and to identify which segmentation method, i.e. conceptual versus data‐driven, is more effective for this purpose.

Design/methodology/approach – A cross‐sectional customer satisfaction survey conducted in the hotel industry was used to test the predictions. The respondents were Norwegian customers (n=689) of an international hotel chain, interviewed by telephone through a professional marketing research bureau. Several statistical analyses were applied to analyze the data, i.e. Cluster, MANOVA and regression. The conceptual model was estimated using PLS.

Findings – It would appear that the weaker the relationship segment, the more quality‐based and disappointing is the customer experience. The stronger or closer the relationship segment, the more balanced (with respect to price and quality) and joyful is the experience. One segmentation method seems to be more efficient than the other in this context.

Research limitations/implications – The sample consists of Norwegian customers from the hotel industry represented by the business customer segment. There are more men than women in the samples.

Practical implications – The findings will allow service providers to develop more effective product‐service‐price offerings and manage the emotional responses of customers with whom they have very different relationships.

Originality/value – This is the first scientific study to examine just how the role of emotions varies across relationship segments while comparing the findings from two different segmentation techniques.


Required Publisher Statement
© Emerald. Final version published as: Johnson, M. D., Lervik-Olsen, L., & Andreassen, T. W. (2009). Joy and disappointment in the hotel experience: Managing relationship segments. Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, 19(1), 4-30. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.